The Road: Merrick Shoots Mata

THE ROAD

In a world where the popular image of a spy alternates between gadget-crammed fantasy and faceless seediness, can Mata Hari, the cooch-dancing agent of World War I, carry a lavish musical on her bare shoulders?

Producer David Merrick thought so —to the tune of an $800,000 investment, plus Hollywood's Vincente Minnelli to direct, plus a buildup for curvaceous Star Marisa Mell that included coverage in Vogue and McCall's. But Merrick was wrong. After a ludicrous Washington preview at which everything from the scenery to the sound system came apart at the...

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